Just read breaking news that the Texas Rangers baseball team—the entity that put George W. Bush on the path to the presidency–has filed for bankruptcy.
According to Bloomberg News:
The Texas Rangers, the Major League Baseball team controlled by billionaire Thomas Hicks, filed for bankruptcy after the planned sale of the team fell through. The Arlington, Texas-based company listed assets and debt of between $100 million and $500 million in Chapter 11 documents filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Fort Worth. Alex Rodriguez was listed as the Rangers’ top unsecured creditor.
Actually, the team was long bankrupt—morally bankrupt. As I describe in Chapter 13 of my investigative book, Family of Secrets, the back story of George Bush’s involvement with the team, and its antics in making money at the public’s expense, is part of the larger tale of the corruption of America itself.
Baseball is touted as the great game for the masses, but it is a business, about connections, making money, getting other people to pay for it. And it is about obtaining public goodwill. Bush used his very small personal investment in the firm, and a hyped-up title of Managing Partner, to create the momentum that led shortly to his being elected governor of Texas and then president of the United States. He also rewarded Hicks, who made Bush rich through purchase of Bush’s shares, by putting Hicks in charge of the vast investment funds of the University of Texas.
Here’s the deal: Bush assembled a group of people to take over the team. He made a much smaller investment than the others (who had every incentive to placate the son of the vice president of the United States), and was given a disproportionate amount of stock, which he sold for a great deal to a fellow who wanted a favor, and thereby was able to take a huge amount out the back end. The “value” of the team was largely based on real estate paid for by the local populace in local tax levies, and through the “eminent domain” seizure of land against people’s wishes, contrary to his stated political views against such takings. The people who paid for enriching him thusly were other investors, taxpayers, and, ultimately, the team itself. Now it’s bankrupt.
If we’d looked more carefully, when Bush was running for president, at how he made his money on the team, and how the larger ownership group made its money on public subsidies, we would have been forewarned about a presidential administration that would stop at nothing to enable their own circle to raid the public cookie jar.
Too late, you might say. But it never hurts, at times like this, to go back and study what exactly happened—to the Rangers, to the Texas public, and to America. We might learn something useful for the future.